NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Theme 4

A smart, connected and accessible region


The Illawarra Shoalhaven will leverage its location and strengths to provide smart, efficient and reliable connections that bring residents and visitors closer to jobs, centres, education and the natural environment.

Investments in infrastructure such as improvements to the M1 Motorway, a new four-lane bridge over the Shoalhaven River at Nowra, and investigations into faster rail connections will physically improve connections.

Infrastructure agencies such as TfNSW will work with local government through forward infrastructure planning to address connectivity issues including congestion and further investigate potential road corridors in response to local and regional growth. Integrating land use planning and transport planning at a local scale will maximise the benefits of these investments, catalysing further investment that brings more jobs, housing diversity, and low-carbon transport choices.


The Shellharbour Airport connects the region by air to Victoria and Queensland, while freight is moved on road and rail corridors such as the M1 Princes Motorway (Mount Ousley Road), Picton Road, Appin Road, as well as the Illawarra and South Coast Rail Line and the Moss Vale to Unanderra Rail Lines. The proposed Outer Sydney Orbital (Stage 2) is investigating improved connections between Western Sydney and the Illawarra Shoalhaven.

The Illawarra Shoalhaven is well placed to embrace innovative thinking and digital technologies. It is already home to one of Australia’s most active business incubator and accelerators, iAccelerate, at the Innovation Campus in Wollongong. Co-working spaces and Siligong Valley, the local community network, support tech and start-up professionals from across the region.

In the post COVD-19 world, people are likely to:

  • place even greater value on walking and cycling networks
  • seek more from digital connectivity to work flexibly
  • generate additional demand for faster delivery of goods to homes and workplaces.


Opportunities for remote working and work hubs could mean more people can live in the region particularly as connectivity to Sydney, Western Sydney and Canberra becomes faster and easier.

Illawarra Shoalhaven connectivity map

Enlarge map.
Image of Map of Illawarra Shoalhaven Region connectivity



The following outlines the objectives under theme 4 - A smart, connected and accessible region:

Objective 25: Collaborate to leverage opportunities from Western Sydney’s growth

The Western Parkland City, Western Sydney City Deal, and tangible benefits presented through the Port Kembla international trade gateway, present once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for growth and collaboration. The Western Sydney and Illawarra Shoalhaven Roadmap to Collaboration is the first step towards unlocking significant growth opportunities for both regions.


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Objective 26: Create faster rail connections between Greater Sydney, Wollongong and Nowra

The NSW Government has a vision for vibrant and growing regional economies, which includes better connectivity between regional cities, key centres and Greater Sydney. Reduced travel times will give people more choice about where they live and work and provide a catalyst for regional growth.


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Objective 27: Protect major freight networks
In 2016, more than 35 million tonnes of freight moved in, out and within the Illawarra Shoalhaven by road and rail including commodities such as coal, grain, flour, steel, cement and limestone, motor vehicles, mineral ore and manufactured goods. By 2056, containers and hydrogen are likely to be added to current commodities being transported into and out of the region.

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Objective 28: Create connected and accessible walking and cycling networks

Well-designed streets, paths and public spaces that provide physical separation from motorised traffic; easy to follow wayfinding; end-of-trip facilities; and green infrastructure with adequate shade will encourage more people to walk and ride as part of day-to-day life.


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Objective 29: Utilise smart infrastructure to drive resilience, prosperity and vibrant places

Illawarra Shoalhaven combines proximity to Sydney with an educated workforce and an ecosystem of innovation. Fostering smart technology in the region will attract and retain university graduates, improve economic diversity, promote resilience and contribute to more vibrant places.


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Objective 30: Prepare for mobility changes that improve connectivity and sustainability
The transport of the future will be shaped by technology and innovation like drones, automated vehicles and real-time service information.


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